Wottawa, Robert J., II. (2016). Expert advice from mentor teachers to improve first-year teachers’ teaching and first-year experience. Doctoral dissertation (Interdisciplinary Educational Studies), Long Island University, C. W. Post Center.
Abstract: This study adopted an interdisciplinary perspective and employed Q methodology as a mixed-methods approach to uncover the tacit knowledge (as defined by Polanyi, 1966) of mentor teachers and provided shared viewpoints of advice to improve first-year teachers. Advice was elicited from mentor teachers from public schools on Long Island and the greater metropolitan region of New York to provide first-year high school teachers the necessary guidance to improve their teaching effectiveness and first-year experience. Eight themes of advice: (a) classroom management; (b) lesson planning; (c) technology; (d) assessment and data; (e) content knowledge; (f) communication and relationships; (g) professionalism; and (h) other insights emerged through a series of 11 expert teacher interviews prior to developing the 56 advice statements, that were then used for an anonymous online Q sorting survey by high school mentor teachers (n = 71). The analysis revealed eight shared viewpoints of 99% of the participants and explains 56.2% of the variance. The eight Q models represent eight hypothetical mentor teachers reflecting advice to improve the effectiveness of first-year teachers. Generalized linear modeling (GLM) was used to predict factor loadings of individual respondents on each Q model, where the dependent variables represent the covariates including: (a) content area, (b) teaching experience, and (c) highest education level. The findings have implications for tacit knowledge development and transference, expert advice, and recommendations for educational practice, teacher preparation programs and future research. Keywords: advice, expert judgment, explicit knowledge, first-year teacher, mentor teacher, Q methodology, tacit knowledge.